Comelec seals recognition of Duterte's PDP-Laban as legitimate

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Comelec seals recognition of Duterte's PDP-Laban as legitimate
In this Oct. 16, 2019 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte chats with Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi on the sidelines of the Switch-on Celebration of San Buenaventura Power Ltd. Co. 500-Megawatt Supercritical Coal-Fired Power Plant at the Grand Hyatt Manila in Taguig City
Presidential Photo / Karl Norman Alonzo

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections seemed to have put an end to the bitter battle between two factions of PDP-Laban as it ruled Thursday that its recognition of the wing chaired by former President Rodrigo Duterte has become final and executory.

The poll body’s en banc issued a certificate of finality as it reasoned that the Supreme Court has not issued a restraining order 30 days after both PDP-Laban factions received its resolution declaring the Duterte wing as legitimate.

“No restraining order has been issued by the Supreme Court within 30 days from receipt of the parties of the resolution that would preclude the 27 January 2023 resolution of this commission from being final and executory,” the certificate read.

Comelec rules provide that an en banc resolution in special proceedings become final and executory 30 days after it is handed down.

In a statement, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III who leads the other PDP-Laban faction, downplayed the certificate of finality issued by the Comelec, calling it a “pro forma, automatic announcement based on its own practice or institutional habit.”

“The Comelec cannot, by its own pronouncements, deprive the Supreme Court of jurisdiction to review its actions and decisions especially when they are exposed to be whimsical, capricious, arbitrary or issued with grave abuse of discretion, such as the decision in this case,” Pimentel said.

The Comelec’s ruling comes a little over a month after the Pimentel faction challenged the poll body’s earlier decision recognizing the Duterte wing as legitimate before the Supreme Court.

In their 57-page petition filed on February 20, the Pimentel group argued that the Comelec did not have jurisdiction over the petition filed by the Duterte wing and that it committed grave abuse of discretion.

The squabble in the formerly ruling party began when some top PDP-Laban members called on Duterte to run for vice president, which former Sen. Manny Pacquiao — the party’s former president — opposed as he appealed to members to focus on the pandemic first before politics.

This sparked a word war between PDP-Laban members, leading to expulsions of top officials and culminating in a split into two factions led by Cusi and Pacquiao, both of which claimed legitimacy over the other.

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